TSMC To Ramp 7nm Production Due To Voracious Demand From NVIDIA And Others

Everyone wants some of what TSMC is cooking with its new 7nm process that will be used for chips from multiple companies. TSMC's 7nm production lines will be used by NVIDIA, Qualcomm, Sony, and Apple. To meet the crushing demand for the parts, TSMC is reportedly accelerating its production schedule.

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Sources are claiming that many of TSMC's fabless customers are skipping the 10nm process tech more readily available and moving directly to 7nm chips. So far in addition to the companies previously mentioned HiSilicon, MediaTek, and Xilinx have all confirmed they will be joining in on the TSMC gravy train. While TSMC is ramping production, IC designers like Global Unichips and AIChip are helping their customers with solutions to speed up 7nm chip development.

Volume production at TSMC for the 7nm process dubbed N7 started in Q2 2018. 7nm chips are expected to account for 20% of all sales in Q4 2018 and 10% of total sales for the year. TSMC is targeting a wide range of applications for the 7nm process chips including mobile, server CPU, network processors, gaming, GPU, FPGA, automotive, and AI. Sources claim that in 2019 an improved version of the TSMC N7 tech will roll out known as N7 Plus taking advantage of EUV lithography.

As demand for 7nm process booms, the demand for TSMC 10nm parts will wane. 10nm process technology sales accounted for 19% of total wafer sales for the foundry in Q1 2018, but that will slide to less than 10% in Q4 2018. TSMC is also still making 12nm process technology specifically for mobile SoC specialists aiming for price control in an ever more competitive smartphone market.